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Paralympic hero joins Southampton’s UK City of Culture’s bid as an ambassador

A Paralympic hero, and volunteer for the city’s Scouting movement, has been announced as a local ambassador to support Southampton’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2025.

Joining Team GB at the tender age of 14, Thelma went on to compete in the 1988 Seoul Paralympics and was the first person in Southampton to win a Gold medal at the Paralympics or Olympics, and joins the bid’s growing list of cohorts that represent the city’s diverse voices.

Following her decorated sporting career, Thelma has focused on her dedicated volunteering role in the Scouts for nearly 25 years, working with many young people across the city.

Thelma said: “Both my parents volunteered in the Scout and Guide movement and their work inspired me to become a volunteer myself when my swimming career was behind me. Our team works with thousands of children across Southampton to encourage them to develop the skills they need in life.”

Now, Thelma is now backing the city’s City of Culture bid for 2025 as ambassador and says a win will highlight what Southampton is all about.

She added: “For me, the true meaning of culture is not just art, music and theatre, it’s about the community, it’s about people living together from all walks of life, and learning from each other, and Southampton’s diverse and multi-cultural city is the epitome of this.

“Southampton is not just somewhere you go to board a cruise ship or head off on an aeroplane, it’s a wonderful city that we should all be proud of. It’s time for us to shout about what makes us great and I’m so pleased to be able to support the city’s bid to become City of Culture bid 2025.”

Thelma joins the bid’s increasing cohort of local and national ambassadors including Craig David MBE, Bill Woodrow, Charlotte Edwards CBE, Baroness Floella Benjamin, Jenny Packham, Kate Prince MBE, Lawrie McMenemy MBE, Peter Hull MBE, Don John, Lynda Walton and Zakir Hussian to name just a few.

Gemma Nichols, Commercial & Marketing Director for Southampton UK City of Culture 2025 said: “The work that Thelma does with our young people across Southampton is truly inspiring. Becoming UK City of Culture 2025 will result in so many different opportunities and experiences for our young people.

“We are delighted to welcome her onboard to not only help champion our bid to become UK City of Culture 2025 but to also ensure that Southampton’s young people are at the heart of it.”

To learn more about Southampton UK City of Culture 2025 bid, please visit:

To watch all the local ambassador films, please visit:


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